Online Auctions Bring In Big Cash
How much would you pay for an evening with Bruce Springsteen? It's a relevant question now that online auctions of experiences are growing in popularity. Nonprofits sell big-ticket dinners, meet-and-greets with well-known people, and premium seats at sporting events. They don't have to organize galas, and they get exposure to a different set of donors, says Charitybuzz biz dev rep Margaret Clarkson. She recently joined the New York-based high-end online auction siteto head up its new DC office. Since launching in 2005, it's attracted nonprofits like the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, UNICEF, and Fashion for Paws.
Charitybuzz has a small staff but 80,000 registered bidders, with most representing the top 1% of income earners. So far the company, which takes 20% of what's been raised for overhead, has brought in over $80M for 1,600 nonprofits. Charitybuzz handles the credit card fees andfulfillments,as well as marketing to donors through emails and social media. Margaret says nonprofits should tap their board members for connections to well-known people who could offer themselves for auction items. And she also recommends being creative with auction ideas to bring in higher bids. Instead of just thinking of a dinner for two at Citronelle, make it a cooking lesson for 10 with the head chef.